Thursday, May 31, 2012

Long Days Journey to Washington

We had another enjoyable week at Avila. We only had two overcast, cloudy and cool days out of our two week stay. The rest of the time was wonderful sunny weather. Very unusual for us former So Cal people use to what we call June Gloom where the sun doesn't come out until 4 or 5 o'clock most spring days. We mostly just took it easy. We paddled a few times. One evening our neighbor Scott brought over some excellent wine to taste. We got some things done for our trip up north such as changing our Verizon plan to include Canada and taking Savannah in to get a health certificate in case we get asked at the border.
Tuesday, after memorial day we finally started our trip north and what a start. We drove all the way from Avila to Medford. Oregon in one day!!! We haven't done that since our vacations taken when we only had two weeks time off. Joe just was feeling fine and just kept driving. After spending two weeks in one place we just wanted to make up some time. We drove until around 9 and then headed up staying at a rest stop. The next day we drove through Oregon and to Olympia Washington.


We stayed at a commercial campground called American Heritage Campground which we had read about in Mike and Terri Church's book, Pacific Northwest Camping Destinations. They had mentioned it was more like a state park than a commercial campground and they were right It is a beautiful campground with Japanese maple trees and other gorgeous flowering trees at the front entrance and the sites sitting in a forest like setting with 60 foot tall Douglas fir trees all around

  We have been to Oregon and Washington a number of times and just love the beauty of the area Of course there is a reason for all the greenery. Lots of rain In fact, it rained all night we were in Olympia. We did some laundry while there and stocked up on some food as it is so much more expensive in Canada. We also bought a new camera. We got a Nikon Coolpix P510 which has a bunch of cool features. Some of the reasons we liked it is that it is smaller than our current Nikon camera but also has a 42x telephoto zoom lens built in. That will be great for closeups of the wildlife we expect to see in Alaska.  
We loved the campground and only spent one night there but it is definitely a place we will return to. Washington is so beautiful and we would love to spend a month here exploring some time. We made our way north east heading to Wenatchee.

We had about a four hour drive and arrived at the Wenatchee River County Park in the late afternoon. Another great park set right on the Wenatchee River in Monitor, which is right next to the city of Wenatchee. The weather was nice and we sat outside trying to figure out what our next stop will be when we cross the Canadian border tomorrow.It should be about four hours drive. We plan to make our drives shorter from now on. No hurrying now though Alaska is calling


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Avila Bubble

Locals refer to Avila Beach's weather as the Avila Bubble as it is sheltered in
San Luis Bay and stays clear and warm when both Pismo Beach and Morro Bay on its north and south side are socked in as is often the case at this time of the year on the California coastline.
We stayed here last year and fell in love with it. We were luck when we arrived on Tuesday to get the same spot where we stayed last year which is right above the water on a small cliff. Savannah is in heaven as this is a dog beach and dogs are allowed to run free. We don't need no stinking leashes says Savannah and the other happy dogs who chase balls and run in the ocean. Last year we only planned on staying a few days and ended up staying the full 2 weeks you are allowed to stay. It looks like our plans are the same this year. We are enjoying the warm weather as we know we probably won't be getting that much this summer as we travel north into Canada and Alaska. Though we are certainly looking forward to the beauty of what we are expecting to see.
Avila Beach started as a fishing port and is still a commercial fishing area We bought some shrimp
from one of the vendors on the pier. Joe barbecued the shrimp wrapped in bacon. YUM YUM.

     We had stored our hard shells at my niece's We originally were going to take our inflatables boat with us on our trip north. However, we have been looking at the Sea Eagle inflatables that a number of bloggers we follow rave about There is one called the Paddle Ski, which is a cross between a kayak(uses kayak paddles) and a catamaran. We were intrigued by the options as you can add a sail and also a small engine which gives a lot of versatility to it. We decided to go ahead and order the boat with the sail option We ordered it from Inflatableboats4less. Tim and Crystal are great to work with and very helpful. We had it sent to a Fedx in San Luis Obispo and picked up the seven packages soon after we arrived in Avila. They have a deal now and when you buy one boat you get a second boat free The second boat is a smaller basic kayak without paddles or seats but we can use the second boat with one of the seats and paddles if we want to paddle in separate boats We can use the second seat and paddle for the second boat. Our paddle ski has more room for Savannah to sit than our other inflatable did and when we made our maiden voyage Savannah seem happy to sit in front of me and enjoy the ride. I'll have pictures in my next post. We haven't tried out the sail yet but will be doing so before we leave here. We walked to the pier for lunch at Pete's Pierside Cafe and Fish Market one day which is the only one of the three restaurants in the pier area where dogs are allowed on the patio. Joe had fish tacos and I had fish and chips.
    Took some pictures of the pier activity including someone raising their boat from the water to the pier. For some reason they don't have a boat ramp and larger boats need to be raised and lower to and from the water  .

  On Friday afternoon we went to the Farmer's Market at Avila. We bought some blueberries and avocados. They also have restaurant stands and I had shrimp crepes and Joe had a fish taco and also a sausage sandwich. They have music as well and is a great place to stroll, which is between two restaurants with big patios and the ocean on the other side.

  We are enjoying our little bit of paradise and looking forward to another week.                                                                                                                                          

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back to the Desert - Palm Springs

As we found out on a Friday that the parts wouldn't be in until after the weekend, we made a quick decision to go to  Palm Springs. What the heck, we had never been there before. We didn't check the weather forecast, which we probably should have done. It was in the 100's all weekend. We made the best of it though, and it is an interesting place. It is well known for its mid-century modern architecture of the 1950's and 60s and the town has done its best to preserve many of the buildings and houses, especially those of famous celebs, such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope.
We enjoyed some good food as a number of restaurants on their outdoor patios. As dogs are not allowed to stay in the motel alone and it was obviously too hot for Savannah to stay in the car, we were fortunate that many of the restaurants with patios are dog friendly. Many of the restaurants had mist systems to help keep it cooler. We had great pastrami and corned beef sandwiches at Sherman's Deli and Bakery, ceviche and tequila prawns at the Blue Coyote Grill, waffles with coconut cream and mangos and corned beef hash at Cheeky's and steamed calms, white pizza with maui onion, gorgonzola and pears and angus beef meatloaf at Lulu's California Bistro. We also spend some time as Starbucks for morning coffee.

Misters to keep heat at bay

Where's my taco

We took some drives around the area. We stopped at the Visitor Center, which use to be a gas station.

We drove up to the Aerial Tramway, but no pets allowed like they were in Canada. :(  Took a few pictures of the valley from there, including one of the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.


We drove around checking out the interesting architecture. The motel we stayed at, Caliente Tropics Resort is also an example of the 50's/60's architecture.

Caliente Tropics

Del Marcos Hotel by architect
William Cody 1947

One day we were at Starbucks across the street from where they were installing a giant Marilyn Monroe statue It is a traveling statue that was last in Chicago. It is Marilyn in her famous scene from the movie "Some Like it Hot"



Marilyn Monroe Statue

Statue in Chicago before being shipped to PS


 It was a busy time on the weekend, especially at night when people were out enjoying the warm nights, all the restaurant and bars patio's full, some of which had bands playing music. Quite a scene.
Monday was much quieter. We found out that our motor home is fixed and we headed for Mira Loma on Tuesday morning to pick it up and we finally will start our northern journey to Alaska First start will be one of our favorite spots, Avila Beach in central California.